McDon­ald’s ac­cuses for­mer boss of ly­ing to gain share deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Rus­sell Lynch

STEVE EASTERBROO­K, the for­mer McDon­ald’s boss, lied about four al­leged sex­ual re­la­tion­ships with staff to dupe di­rec­tors into let­ting him leave with share awards when he was sacked last year, the fast-food firm has claimed.

The com­pany made the al­le­ga­tions in Delaware court fil­ings as part of its ef­forts to claw back at least $37m (£27.7m) in com­pen­sa­tion paid to Wat­ford-born Mr Easterbroo­k when he left last Novem­ber. It is the lat­est salvo in a bat­tle which erupted last month when the com­pany ac­cused the 53-year-old of keep­ing nude or sex­u­ally ex­plicit pho­tos of women on his email – in­clud­ing three em­ploy­ees with whom he had re­la­tion­ships.

McDon­ald’s said in a fil­ing it had dis­missed Mr Easterbroo­k with a sev­er­ance pay­out based on his claim that he had a re­la­tion­ship with just one em­ployee. The fil­ing said: “When McDon­ald’s in­ves­ti­gated, its CEO lied. Steve Easterbroo­k con­ceded hav­ing an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with one em­ployee, en­tirely by phone, but said he never had a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with any other em­ployee.

“That was un­true, mul­ti­ple times over. And Easterbroo­k not only lied, but he also deleted emails and pho­tos from his com­pany phone to hide phys­i­cal, sex­ual re­la­tion­ships with three ad­di­tional em­ploy­ees.”

McDon­ald’s claimed that had it known about those en­coun­ters, it would not have ter­mi­nated Mr Easterbroo­k “with­out cause”, which al­lowed him to leave with share op­tions. The fil­ing said that if in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors had known the full ex­tent of Mr Easterbroo­k’s mis­con­duct, they would not have ap­proved the agree­ment.

Mr Easterbroo­k said in re­sponse to the law­suit that the com­pany had in­for­ma­tion about his re­la­tion­ships when it ne­go­ti­ated his sev­er­ance pack­age – adding that he deleted data from his busi­ness phone, but the ev­i­dence re­mained in the com­pany email ac­count stored on the firm’s servers.

McDon­ald’s rules ban em­ploy­ees from dat­ing or hav­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with any­one they man­age, in or­der to re­duce the risks of non-con­sen­sual con­duct and un­equal treat­ment of staff.

Mr Easterbroo­k’s lawyer did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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